It's quite possible that you spend more time typing on your iPhone than you do on your Mac or PC. Make your life easier by learning these typing tips for using the iPhone. We cover everything from various ways to speed up your iPhone typing, to how to find various symbols and punctuation marks, and ways to increase or decrease the size of the keyboard. Read on to find out more.
Type with a swipe
Wondering if the iPhone keyboard has swipe? It does, as long as you install iOS 13.
New in iOS 13 is a built in swipe style keyboard. There is no need to switch this on, it’s on by default.
To use the new iPhone keyboard swipe typing, known as QuickPath typing, in iOS 13 just swipe your finger over the keys you would normally press. You don’t need to lift your finger from the screen until you are starting a new word.
We’re not convinced that it’s any faster than typing with our fingers, but it has plenty of benefits.
You can type one handed, using your thumb, but we wouldn’t advise it as you’d probably strain your thumb.
The iPhone seems to magically know what you are attempting to type even if you can’t spell it. So mostly it will produce the correct spelling, although some times you will get an entirely different word.
To prove that we are quicker at typing with our fingers we ran a test and indeed found typing to be faster, but perhaps with practice, and perhaps for anyone who didn’t have such speedy fingers Swiping would be faster.
Problems: if you want to delete a single wrong letter at the end of a word it will delete the whole word.
If it becomes frustrating you can turn off the QuickPath typing in Settings > General > Keyboard > Slide to Type.
How to move around the page with the curser
In older versions of iOS, assuming your iPhone had 3D Touch, you could Press and hold the curser and then move your finger to the place you want the cursor to be.
In iOS 13 the curser is even easier to move, just tap anywhere on the page so you can see the curser and then drag it with your finger to where you want it to be. There’s no need to press on the screen.
Undo and redo
In iOS 12 we were often seen shaking our phone every time we made a mistake. This is how you correct something. It’s slightly embarrassing on public transport, although perhaps it is a good way of dealing with your rage at the mistake you made. One of the frustrations, aside from the physically having to shake your phone, was that once undone you couldn’t redo, but that’s also changed in iOS 13.
In iOS 13 there’s a better way to undo your mistakes (at least those you type). When you shake your phone to correct a mistake you will see a message that you can double tap with three fingers to bring up various options including: undo, cut, paste, copy and redo. Tap on undo (the curving arrow) to undo your mistake. And tap on redo to redo something you removed accidentally.
Use predictive text
This handy feature pops up a selection of words you might be in the process of typing just above the keyboard, so that you can tap on the word, rather than finish typing it. This is very handy if it’s a long word, or if you can’t spell it. Some people entertain themselves for hours typing messages by tapping on the middle predictive text suggestion.
If you want to turn the feature on or off you can - just go to Settings > General > Keyboard and set the slide beside Predictive on or off accordingly.
Use text shortcuts
If there are words of phrases you often type you can set up shortcuts so that you can type something shorter and have it automatically expand to the longer phrase. For example, we type MW and it automatically expands to Macworld.
You add these under Keyboard settings:
- Go to Settings > General
- Choose Keyboard > Text Replacement.
- Tap on +
- Add your shortcut and the complete phrase you want it to trigger
Now when you want to type that word or phrase just type your shortcut and press return, or choose it from the autosuggestions that appear above the keyboard.
Talk don’t type
If typing isn’t your thing, you don’t have to type at all. Just below the keyboard you’ll see a microphone icon. Tap on that and just speak.
Your iPhone will input the text as you speak. It’s generally quite good at transcribing what you say, although it may depend on your accent. It’s also not clever enough to respond to directions like ‘delete that’, but it’s a pretty useful if you don’t mind going back and correcting mistakes, and if you don’t mind speaking to your iPhone in public.
This is by far the quickest way to type incidentally, as the phone transcribes what you say in near real time, so there’s no fumbling around trying to find the right keys. We really should use this feature more.
How to type capital letters, uppercase
This is quite a basic thing really but the next time you have to enter a password including various capitals, lower case letters and numbers, you’ll be glad to know it.
The first word in a sentence will automatically take a capital letter, but what if you want to type a person’s name or anything that should be capitalised?
- Just tap on the shift key, as you would any keyboard, and then tap on the letter you require (which will now be capitalised).
However, this only turns the keyboard into uppercase for one letter. What if there are multiple capital letters you wish to type?
- Just tap on the shift key twice to create a kind of Caps Lock feature and you can type what you need to type in capitals.
How to type punctuation on an iPhone
Punctuating your text - adding commas, semicolon, colons, backslash and so on - involves an extra step on an iPhone since there isn’t really room for all those frequently used symbols below the keyboard.
Luckily when it comes to full stops (periods) there’s an easy way to enter them: just press space twice.
To access punctuation on your iPhone keyboard, tap on the 123 button. You’ll see all the numbers above various punctuation marks. If the one you are looking for isn’t there chances are it will be on the next screen, so tap the new #+= key that’s appeared where the shift key was and you can see even more. That’s where you will find backslash, for example.
How to add an indent
Want to indent the paragraph you are typing on your iPhone? You can.
- Press and hold on the screen where you are typing and wait for the Select, Select All, Paste… menu to appear.
- Next tap on the arrow at the end of that list.
- Next to B/I you’ll see Indentation. Tap on that.
- Now choose from Decrease or Increase.
How to type accents on an iPhone
In a similar vein, you might need to type an umlaut or some other accented letter on your iPhone. To do so just press and hold the letter you wish the accent to appear on and choose from the ones that appear.
How to change language
While we are taking accents, a quick word on languages. You can switch to a different language for your iPhone keyboard so that it predicts the right text and corrects (or doesn’t correct) your mis-spellings.
Open Settings > General > Keyboard.
- Tap on Keyboards
- Tap on Add New Keyboard.
- Now choose your language.
- Having added the extra keyboard a new globe icon will appear below your keyboard. Tap that when you wish to change the language. The new language will be indicated momentarily on the spacebar.
How to type emojis
From smily faces to animals, food and drink, sports, travel, objects, there is an emoji for just about everything. To find the one you want you could open up the emoji keyboard by tapping on the emoji icon mentioned above and swiping through the options, or you can type in the word you want the emoji to represent and see if the relevant emoji appears in the auto suggestions box. Tap on the emoji that appears and it will replace your words.
This works for typing a copyright symbol, for example, just type the word copyright and the symbol will appear in your auto suggestions.
How to add a personalised emoji
Another new feature in iOS 13 is the ability to create your own set of emojis that look like you. Once you have created this set of stickers they will be available to add. Read more about how to create your own set of Memoji stickers here.
How to type a heart symbol
These days the alphabet isn’t enough for us to communicate what we want to say,.
Hearts are pretty popular, red hearts, black hearts, and so on. It’s easy to type one on your iPhone.
Below the keyboard on the left you’ll see an emoji icon (smily face) to start, tap on that.
Now you could swipe along the various emoji’s until you find the one you are after, or jump straight to heart by tapping the menu icon that has a musical note and an &%. Once you have typed a heart it will appear in your frequently used emojis.
A quick tip: if you want a black heart, for example, type the words black heart and a black heart will appear in your auto suggestions box.
How to add a Gif using the iPhone keyboard
You might want to add a Gif while typing. It’s something you can do when sending an iMessage, so we’ll include it here.
- In the Messages app, tap on the icon that looks like an A beside the text field.
- Now tap on the Images icon (a red magnifying glass).
- You’ll see a collection of Gifs, you could choose one, or type in a phrase to see a gif that might fit what you are trying to demonstrate.
Type one handed
As we said above, you can type one handed using the new swipe keyboard, although we don’t really recommend it as you are likely to injure your thumb. Another way to type with one hand is to activate the one-handed keyboard.
What happens when you activate the one-handed keyboard is it will shift over to one side.
- To activate it press on the emoji icon until you see three keyboard icons.
- Tap the one with the arrow pointing to the right (or left depends on the hand you’ll be using) and it will shift the keyboard in that direction.
This feature in addition to the swipe keyboard functionality might just make typing with one hand plausible.
Wondering why the iPhone keyboard is small? This is probably why! To go back to the usual keyboard just tap the arrow in the space beside the keyboard.
Make the keyboard bigger
That tweak makes the keyboard smaller, but what if you want the keyboard to be bigger. Perhaps because you have fat fingers, ahem.
There are a few ways to make the keyboard bigger. You could simply rotate the phone to landscape mode, which will stretch the keyboard.
Another way is to switch to Zoomed display view.
- Go to Settings > Display & Brightness > Display Zoom.
- Tap Set.
Your iPhone screen will go black for a couple of seconds and then switch on with the new more zoomed in screen. To be honest, the difference to screen size when you do this is minimal, but it makes other changes to the interface that you might find useful.
Another option is to use the Zoom options in Accessibility. With Zoom enabled you can magnify the whole screen. You can even swipe a dial at the bottom of the page to increase the zoom. With this feature turned on, juts Double-tap three fingers and you will zoom. Drag those three fingers around to move around the screen. It works with the keyboard, but not being able to see the whole keyboard isn’t really that useful.
How to stop iPhone keyboard clicks
Don’t you just cringe for anyone who’s ipHone makes clicking sounds while they type on the keyboard? Oh, yours does that still! About time you changed it!
To disable the keyboard clicks on your iPhone just go to Settings > Sounds > Keyboard Clicks and switch it off.
If you really want keyboard clicks, perhaps because you need to know you have pressed a key, but you just want to temporarily turn them off, all you need to do is mute your iPhone.
Just switch the slider on the side of your iPhone off. This means your iPhone will be on silent - so you won’t hear any calls either, but at least your iPhone will be silent.